My Story: Humiliated by a Pharmacist

My Story: Humiliated by a Pharmacist

The day started pretty much like any other. Woke up with pain. Took a pill. Pain eased to a tolerable level.

That is what my life is like. Since I was in my teens I have suffered from muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease and other auto immune related disorders.

I had a doctor’s appointment that morning to get a refill for my prescription for oxycodone. Every month I make an appointment, every month I see the doctor, and every month I go to the pharmacy. Those are the rules in Florida.

Colleen Sullivan

Colleen Sullivan

I was a little nervous when I got to the doctor’s office. I had been seeing him for 5 months. I really wanted to ask if I could stop coming in every month, paying $95 just to see him for 5 minutes. You have to understand, because of my conditions, everything is a struggle.

Reluctantly, he agreed to give me the next month’s prescription so I could skip a month.

This is something I have learned to deal with. You get used to the looks people give you and you know they are thinking you are some kind of drug addict. You get used to the hushed whispers the pharmacists share when you hand them the paper. You even get used to the way friends don’t understand you can’t do the things you used to.

But one thing I can’t get used to is the humiliation.

When I left the doctor’s office, I went to the Publix supermarket — just like I had for the previous 5 months – to get my prescription filled. The counter girl asked the pharmacist, Debbie, if they have enough to fill the script.

Right away Debbie flashed me that look of disdain. The “you are such a junkie” look.

Debit CardAfter a minute, she comes back and tells me that I am early. She claims I am 20 days early, which is just crazy. I am there every month and she knows me. In fact, she has been rude to me before. But, being on narcotic pain meds, sometimes you just have to put up with that kind of thing.

She then informs me that she cannot fill the prescription. I tell her there must be some mistake on the doctor’s end. Perhaps he wrote it wrong? She says it doesn’t matter, she won’t fill it.

This made me slightly angry. That she treated me like a drug addict trying to abuse the system. But I didn’t want to let it upset me because my disease is triggered by stress, so I try not to let things get to me too much. I said okay, I will go somewhere else, and left.

I drove down the road to a CVS pharmacy. I go in and hand him the script. He looks at me straight in the face and tells me they don’t have any. They don’t have any? A pharmacy doesn’t have oxycodone? Not some grocery store pharmacy, a real pharmacy?

As my fiancée and I are walking out, I jokingly said wouldn’t it be crazy if Debbie had called CVS?

We drove about 10 miles down the road to a Walgreens. I go in, hand them the script, and they say no problem, come back at 2 o’clock. As I am walking out, they call my name over the loud speaker. I walk up to the head pharmacist and ask what’s wrong.

He says to me VERY LOUDLY and in front of about 15 people, “I can’t fill this for you. Debbie from Publix called me and said that you are early.”

I was sooooo angry at that point! I said she is mistaken. Call my doctor and ask him! She is just a pharmacist! My doctor wrote this today! He’s a DOCTOR!!

I was getting upset and embarrassed. All the people standing in line were staring at me. The pharmacist continued to yell at me very loudly, saying he wouldn’t do it because I was trying to fill early.

Then I finally just broke. I cried. Cried for the embarrassment. Cried for the way they were so rude. Cried because they treated me like some kind of addict. Cried because of the pain I have to deal with every day for the rest of my life. Cried because my reputation in this town I had just moved to was completely ruined.

I just couldn’t believe this woman, Debbie, would go that far to mess with me. That she would call all the pharmacies in town for who knows what reason. I knew she didn’t like me, but that was going too far. I went back to my doctor’s office. I told him what happened. And I was crying. Uncontrollable crying.

He looked at the script and realized he had made a mistake. Instead of putting take 1 to 2 pills every 4 hours, he had put take 1 pill every 4 hours. He wrote out a new script.

I went back to Publix. I was furious at this point and still crying. I couldn’t believe Debbie did all that to me. Isn’t it bad enough that when I was only 17, I got this horrible disease that I have put up with for over 10 years, and I will have for the rest of my life? Isn’t it bad enough that I wake up every day just praying that I can have one moment without pain?

This whole thing could have been avoided if she simply treated me like a human being that is sick and needs medicine. Not a drug addict. She could have just called my doctor and he would have straightened it out. She could have worked with me to figure it out. No, instead she decided to call everyone in this small town and let them all know about me.

That day, about a year ago, I eventually got the prescription I needed, after hours and hours of driving around. Unfortunately, because of that whole situation, my health took a major nose dive and the doctor I was seeing kicked me out of his practice.

For the next 2 months I got sicker and sicker because of all the stress. I had to go to specialist after specialist to find someone, anyone, who would help me. I saw doctor after doctor that just refused to help me out with anything other than the name of another doctor.

Finally, about 4 months ago I found a pain specialist in Miami that agreed to help me with my medications. And the pharmacists at Walgreens are being much more understanding these days. I think they realize I live here and I am a part of this community, whether they like it or not.

I wanted to share this because I know that feeling you get, pulling up to Walgreens or CVS. I know the hot flush that creeps across your face as you walk through the store. I know the feeling that your heart is going to burst from your chest when you hand them the script. And then I also know that feeling of being humiliated when the pharmacist makes sure to announce that your PAIN MEDS are EARLY in a loud voice — but then whispers but only by one day so it’s okay.

I do not want sick people to have to face this every single month. It’s literally torture. It just breaks my heart to think other sick people are out there are being mistreated on top of having this condition no one can even understand.

12_7.jpgColleen Sullivan lives in Florida. In April, Colleen’s father wrote a column for National Pain Report on how difficult it was to obtain pain medications for Colleen in Florida. The Sullivans have created a Facebook group called Patients United for DEA Reform.

National Pain Report invites other readers to share their stories with us.

Send them to editor@nationalpainreport.com

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Just terrible,
Power tripping pharmacist playing CSI fo sheezy…..
It’s very unfair to blame the patient ! Shame on that Pharmacy !
I feel you, hang in there, you’re not alone……
Love,
Dennis

Nancy:

I totally get your desire to be more private about some of the drugs you have to take. However, the point is that this pharmacist should have been fired for HIPPA violations for just for being an idiot in general. That pharmacist simply needed to call the doctor to confirm the prescription. The exact thing she would have done it she was trying to confirm an RX for anything but pain meds. That’s the real problem. I wonder if anyone filed a complaint with the corporate office of Publix or even the store manager? If it were me I’d have gone to local media and spread it all over the local news. Then Publix would have taken notice and something would have been done for sure. In fact if Colleen would like help in doing so I’d be glad to pitch in. I can’t help but this this is just plain illegal. Colleen, if you are still looking at this chain of posts, please contact me and I will do everything I can to help you find a way to file a lawsuit.
Lorraine Calvert

The problem with that is most of us our insurance tells us what pharmacy we have to go too or we have to pay almost twice as much. My town has no small pharmacies anymore. CVS bought them all out. I am going to try mail order as it is cheaper for me and the few people I know that use it are very happy with it. When I was taking care of my father I used Kaiser’s mail order and it was so helpful for me since I was sick too. They would send three months at a time. Call HIPPA and the CEO of the pharmacy. That might cause some change,

There is a lot of problems with this post. For one, the pharmacist took it on herself to call all the other pharmacies in the area which clearly violates HIPPA and Federal laws. What information did they share with each other, “Names, Birth Dates, Addresses, Telephone Numbers, or Social Security Numbers?” The pharmacist should be fired for doing this. Where is the privacy act at in this case. The patients’ reputation has been ruined by this type of act and everybody thinks it’s ok.

Walgreen’s and CVS are made by the people and not by themselves. Everybody needs to understand this! We the people can make or break any company in the world if we chose to. I would suggest finding a little pharmacy or cutting down your medications to where there is not problem filling it at a small phamacy. Contact the Board of Pharmacy or Hippa when they violate your privacy and share your information with others against your will.

Stand up and fight for your rights…

This story is heart-wrenching, I can practically hear the author crying as I read it. Although, I will admit I don’t know what really happened and as the reader I only know one side of it and that is Colleens. Colleen, if everything you are stating is 100% fact, I feel terrible for you and you did have you HIPAA rights violated. Additionally, if this happened to me I would be extremely embarrassed and likely too traumatized to fill any prescriptions again, which unfortunately is not possible in your situation. One thing I don’t understand is why the original pharmacy would not fill your prescription? You can find out why, you do have access to information in your Pharmacy Drug Profile. Many people get them when doing their taxes. Anyway, you said you were getting oxycodone filled for a month supply at the same pharmacy for the 5 past months. A 30 day supply with the directions to take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours. The pharmacy, when entering the prescription into the computer system will need to assume that you are taking the maximum possible tablets around the clock to calculate the shortest possible day supply, unless noted by the doctor to not exceed more than some # of tablets in 24hrs. So if you have been consistently seeing the doctor every 30 days and filling the prescription every 30 days there really should have been no problem. I understand you said your doctor made a mistake by writing the prescription for 1 tablet every 4 hours. Doing this would not cause the prescription to come up as too soon to be filled. Now mind you the following month you might be too early if you continue to take 2 tablets every 4 hours when that prescription was written 1 tablet every 4 hours. The pharmacy keeps record of each prescription that is filled and how many days it should last the patient. As long as you are remaining compliant to your dosing regimen there is no reason for it to come up early unless there was some other mistake from the previous month(s). The pharmacy will have some flexibility to come in a few days early so you do not need to wait until you are completely out of medication. Although with controlled substances there is what is refereed to as the “7 day rule” which states: No prescription shall be filled until the ultimate user has exhausted all but a 7 day supply of ANY previously dispensed supply. This applies to ALL refills of that drug. So if a patient refills 1 day early for seven months and 1 day early on 8th month it will be too soon. As long as you have been compliant to the regimen and you are not loosing any medication somehow there really is no reason from what you stated for you to be out of medication and still have the prescription too soon to be filled? Again, I do not have… Read more »

I’ve used Walgreens for over 20 years, and have been humiliated by them more than anyone – same issues as all of you. But – a Walgreens rep told me they were being used as a control model pharmacy because of getting into some narcotic trouble last year. That said…

WHY is it the fault/responsibility/job of a pharmacist to decide whether the customer is a ‘druggie’ or a valid pain patient – if they bring in a valid script??
I’d think if they go to the trouble of calling the MD (if they feel the need) and validating the script, that any problems would fall back on the MD, not the pharmacy.
??

Having worked at a hospital for 25 years, I know personally how many times the pharmacist and the pharmacy tech intervened on a medication before it got to the patient and caused potential harm up to and including death, I tracked these events as ” near misses”. If you really want to know the side effects of a medicine and the potential harm talk to your pharmacist, get to know them and let them understand what is your disability as for me it has helped them guide me to the right medicines and prevent me from taking a medicine that count contradict one of my other medicines. That is why it is so important to only go to one pharmacy so they can get to know you. My pharmacy will bend its back to help me get auth for a new medicine and make sure my medicines are ordered and available for me. I always get them a Starbucks card at Christmas because they have really saved the day for me. I did have problems with one pharmacy so I changed and like I said I privately talked to the staff about my medicine needs and they have been wonderful to me. So I would try another pharmacy if you are not happy. We should be treated with respect and dignity and so should the staff that helps you. I know their have been a lot of changes because of the Florida incident and the DEA and I feel bad for the patient and the pharmacy for what they have to deal with. Let’s hope it doesn’t get worse with Obama care.

Dear Katie:

Once again a pharmacist who has totally missed the point. It was the WAY SHE WAS TREATED that is the point on the story. Not who was at fault. If that would have been an Rx for Lipitor the pharmacist would simply have called the doctor instead of embarrassing the patient and spreading word around town not to fill the prescription. I live in a big city so this whole thing is just sick to me. How small people act in order to feel important (ie: pharmacist in the story) is sickening.

Lorraine

While I don’t normally comment on blog posts, the ignorance that I have seen flowing through this comment thread is unbearable. Yes, the situation is unfortunate, and I sincerely apologize to Colleen for what happened to her. What I can’t handle, are people like Mary and Cathy claiming that pharmacists have no right to question doctors. The DOCTOR of Pharmacy degree today is just as lengthy as a traditional MD degree, making pharmacists more than capable of understanding what is going on with your medical condition.

As a pharmacy student and technician at “some grocery store” pharmacy, I can’t count how many times we’ve received prescriptions from doctors that are completely inappropriate for a patient’s condition, even prescribing medications that a patient is allergic to! If you think your doctor is infallible, you have bigger issues to work out. Almost all doctors I have met have been brilliant people, but they are still human. You should be glad that the pharmacist is there verifying your conditions, or you never know what could happen.

@SJ I think your arrogance fits the bill of a pharmacist.
It is not the REAL patients problem that you have scammers – drug abusers – coming in to your pharmacist with phony scripts. I’d have to imagine that you have more real prescriptions enter your pharmacy than phony, yet, you choose to treat everyone filling a controlled substance like a druggie. When has the demands of your job become the customers problem? Yu chose your career path.. We didn’t. I don’t want to suffer for your problems with criminals.
Your comment is the most ridiculous argument for pharmacist I’ve ever read if I do say so myself.. There are shoplifters in every department store. Do you want to be followed around by security when you go shopping? I didn’t think so. Is that ignorant? No.. however, it is ignorant for you to suggest the customers carry the burden for the demands your job places on you.
I honestly can’t believe you suggest we tell the pharmacist our medical condition. lol What kind of nonsense is that? If you needed to know someones medical condition to follow the Doctors orders, the Doctor would fill you in. Fortunately for us, HIPAA laws protect us from people like you. You could probably face a bit of trouble – as a pharmacist – for giving such advice.

From years of being a patient on heavy pain relieving medications (since retirement) due to an extra lumbar vertebrae and several discs that are now all but gone, I have seen this type of behavior in pharmacists. As a retired police officer I have also seen patient behavior prompting pharmacists to act this way.

However the scare of being taken to task by the DEA (I guess) has sometimes made this worse. Having been on the same time released opioid, at the same dosage, and only getting my prescriptions from the same pharmacy for over 5 years, as well as having a family member who worked in this pharmacy for years (until she left for nursing school), and with the staff knowing the entire family on a first name basis such that they often asked about how the young ones (called by name) were doing, I was very surprised to encounter a similar situation. Upon presenting the prescription two days before the prior one would run out, I was told they did not have this in stock and had never stocked it. Never? What have I been getting for five years? It was then I noticed the tech was relaying information from a substitute pharmacist (large chain). OK, someone new to me, possibly new to the profession (based on age and substitue status), being extra careful, not a huge problem.

They said they could order it but it would take 5 days, well you have to what you have to do. I learned years earlier when the manufacturer pulled all of their pain medications for repackaging into a different tamper resistant pill which caused none to be available for a month, that sometimes the medication cannot be obtained in a timely manner. So in the interim years I safely stored doses that were missed, for just such an occurrence. But then I almost fell over when they told me one of their other locations, 10 miles away, had it in stock and I could go there. A different location? Are you not aware that the DEA requires an agreement be signed to only obtain medications from one location? Dumb-founded look from the pharmacist and tech. I ordered my medication.

I respect all it takes to become a pharmacist, but sometimes that errant dumb thought enters even educated heads. And I really feel for the genuine patient who encounters this and sometimes feels as if they have been treated as a drug abuser, because sometimes they are. Being on long term pain relief medication is a stigma that many are ashamed of and it is only compounded when others treat them (real or imagined) that way.

SJ:
Obviously you missed the most important issue here. It’s not so much what the pharmacist did, it’s how she did it. I can’t imagine that happening to me because I live in San Francisco and not in a small town somewhere. I can’t believe this pharmacist then call all the others in the area simply to stop this woman from getting her script filled. Leave it up to the other pharmacists on how they want to handle it for goodness sakes.
You just totally missed the point. This woman was humiliated for no reason by an insensitive and seemingly noisy woman who finds enjoy in the misery of others.
I all two degrees in the Allied Health Sciences and Patient Care was on both of my board exams. Sounds like perhaps pharmacists don’t bother with that.

KP is just being ignorant, but some of you are no better. As a pharmacist, I know it’s a hassle deciphering real and legitimate prescriptions. When someone like the Colleen comes in with a mistake that is not her fault, it sucks. One, she doesn’t understand why there is a problem because she is following her prescribers directions . Two, we don’t understand why there is a problem because we are following the prescribers directions.

There are two routes, call the prescriber or not call the prescriber. If you don’t call the prescriber, then you can either not fill it and leave a potential authentic customer screwed OR you can fill it and risk getting discplined later on down the line for bullshit they expect pharmacist do for controlled substances (CS). Some of you think that pharmacists want to “police” the drugs. In my opinion and from many other people I know, we don’t want that burden of having to go “CSI” all over each CS. Thus to avoid that, the pharmacist should have called the prescriber and figured out that problem. There are a multitude of issues with calling the prescriber. One, prescribers aren’t always that responsive (eg, time or demeanor). Two, the ton of other customers screaming at you to hurry because they think they are at a fast-food restaurant. Three, the amount of unauthentic prescriptions and the delay it would cause in filling said screaming customers. Four, the AMA actually does not want pharmacists to interfere with prescribers, so the DEA is telling pharmacists they better do XYZ, but the AMA is saying leave us alone. I could go on, but basically there is a tug of war between our time for filling as many prescriptions as possible (corporate), fixing problems (our own, patients, prescribers, etc), providing patient care (most important), and other things.

If anyone wants to be treated, then it’s a two-way street. Go into the pharmacy and tell the pharmacist your medical conditions and what issues you have. Don’t treat pharmacists as not the “DOCTOR!!” (per the author) so it won’t be a surprise when you always come in like clockwork (as a good patient should do), because unfortunately good patient timing mimics unauthentic patients. Worst case scenario, call the prescriber yourself and tell them to call the pharmacy.

I couldn’t agree more! One of the ironies of all of this is that the very people who need to take this issue on (me included) are too sick to do so. It’s going to take someone with the strength to organize. Hopefully there will be one fine person out there who will be able to take this on.
Ignorance fueled by propaganda from the Media (60 Minutes & the Katie Couric show) is giving strength to an already power crazed arm of the government.

To the author of this article it breaks my heart to hear your story. This is happening to so many (legitimate) pain patients all over the country. It is a media hyped induced knee jerk reaction of the News Journalists in the US and the DEA who are now upping the ante on their “war on drugs”. Most chronic pain patients take their pain meds as prescribed. The DEA has now put such fear into pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS that most are flat out refusing to fill pain meds at all. This is leading up to major class action law suits. I can’t imagine what you are going through, as I use to know a woman who had Scleroderma and it is a horrible disease that causes every part of the body to literally become hardened in place. It is very painful and she was never able to move her fingers as they were calcified in place by the skin and ligaments. I know elderly people who suffer from a great deal of chronic pain from arthritis and the only way that these folks can get through the day is with their pain medications. It seems to me that the DEA has turned the pharmacies into “scrutinizing doctors” to the point of interfering with their treatment of their patients. I know that many pharmacies are also red flagging many patients in state wide data bases if patients fill before a 3 day period, or if the pharmacy thinks that too many pain meds were prescribed. In other words the Pharmacy decides if they think your prescription is appropriate based on their limited knowledge of your health issues. They make the call as to whether they think a Physician is in the right to prescribe said medicines. It is over reaching, and is not their role to do this. They do not have the years of college and medical training to the level that the physicians do, and the physicians know your physical health and issues far better than some second hand party. I really hope all of these pain patients work together to file a class action suit against pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS. I really do. This really has to stop in my opinion.

I’m going through the same thing. I work for Costco wholesale great company terrible pharmacist. I can only go to Costco,meijer,or rite aid. I have a horrible illness. the pharmacist has called other stores not to fill my prescription. he has no idea what is wrong with me . He filled my meds for 3 years now he wants to save the world.I am going to talk to a attorney today. Also half the employees in his department.know my business,

thanks
🙂 for sharing I know this degarding feeling we people who don’t live in our shoe, my doctor said we are medical dependant I am a diabetic, we
Have all felt this at one time or another even though I’m well document with I/C,Hungers ulcers that make me bleed every time I pee, von willabranes which means I don’t have enough platelet s to clot,Thalassemia minor which makes me animic and my futures, uturs andblow attached to my addomianial wall a result of a eplashion gone wrongs ( I told him I had a uturs that was heart shaped pleaded for him to take it out he said had to do this first, machine ist,s a triangle)5600 out of of pocket a 10 min visit, another horrible surgical. Experience so much pain thank god. i have a great pain dock,who steped in ,I feel your pain i have found staying with one doc for pain and one great pharmacy to fill everything helps so much i dont know if a have a medi cap meeting the owner and having a personal patient rep has helped so much they fill everything except on sunday and if there is a problem you have the owners number. It sucks a few people looking for a high has ruined it for us truly ill people:-)

Thank you George. We all need to support this page!

https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

First of all, I am so sorry that all of you have to be treated this way. I am fortunate that my Pharmacy (Safeway) hasn’t given me any problems. It makes me livid that you people have been treated rudely by these Pharmacists. Who the HELL do they think they are? They certainly have no business second guessing the Doctor. Since when have they been able to override a Doctors prescription? Unless the Pharmacist is a PharmD, I believe they attend Medical School. They are called a Doctor of Pharmacueticals. But I still believe, they should not be given the power of overriding the Doctors.

It is my understanding that the DEA and FDA are rolling out this campaign to eradicate all Opiod/Narcotic pain relievers. My Doctor no longer prescribes Narcotics he had to send me to a Pain Management Doctor who said he can only slowly ween me off them. This will be the growing trend. These government agencies are making it so difficult for the Doctors that they no longer want to deal with Narcotics. The DEA has decided, the only way to get rid of the problem of these drugs ending up in the streets is to get rid of them all together. They made this decision with little regard to people like us that rely on these medications for a little quality of life. I think we should all join together and fight for our rights. The problem is most of us don’t have the energy or means to do this. Thanks for listening.

To all pharmacists who feel they can better treat my illness better than my dr., think again. You may spend 3 years learning about meds and how they affect the body, but did you go to medical school? Did you send me for countless tests and review the results? Spend half hour consultations with me? Know my medical history? Gone through the countless procedures and seen the results? You don’t know anything about me other than what a dr. that does know me chose to treat me with. If you are half medical professional you think you are , You would know you are not equipped to make my medical decisions . You simply do not have enough information . If that’s what you want to do , go back to school and be a real doctor .

Yes, this is ridiculous. I haven’t been prescribed prescription painkillers for my newly erupted arthritis, but I have to physically get a new prescription for my Ativan (for my anxiety disorder) and my Ambien (for the insomnia that comes with my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) every month.

People who abuse drugs shouldn’t have the power to make it this difficult for those of us who actually need them. The DEA and all of the other stupid government regulations concerning drugs we need a doctor to write a prescription for need to change. Having an invisible illness is hard enough without having to be discriminated against at the pharmacy.

@KP ….. I respect that you are very defensive of people in your profession, however your bias opinion makes me think that people with your thought process shouldn’t be the people behind a counter helping people. At least the doctor corrected himself, but I do not see in the story she has written, that any pharmacist had apologized. I probably would of pressed charges. Colleen must of been being nice.
I often pity people who don’t have compassion for those in chronic pain. I pity you because in your heart there’s a true unkindness, and sense of being high and mighty. Pharmacists on a their high horse. People without compassion often don’t give two rats butts about other peoples conditions, they are just pharmacists for the money. Every day I have to watch my mom be in pain physically until her pain medication kicks in, then I have to see her feel guilty or upset that she can’t live a normal life. Her pharmacist has repeatedly messed up her prescription even if her Doctor had written it properly. Pharmacists like that are pigs. Imagine if Colleen hadn’t gotten her medication, what kind of condition she would be in? If my mom, who has SLE Lupus Rheumatoid arthritis and many other issues, was treated that way I would take it to court, I would throw the biggest hissy fit. I would contact every news station and every paper I could until I got that whole pharmacy shut down until they found more caring pharmacists. Why? Because KP people like you, those who think they are better than others because you “Have knowledge” but you are clearly not a pharmacist because you care. In my experience, watching what my mom has been through, I think most pharmacists will get what they deserve. In the long run Colleen, this will come back to those jerks. They are just bullies, over privileged children. Clearly KP “lacks knowledge” about Bullies and what makes a Bully. Sweet Colleen, I won’t be that person to say “Im sorry you are suffering every day” I will say I am proud of you for being stronger than most people without pain, who stress the petty things and never have to worry about the kind of things you do.

I can relate to your story and I went to the Facebook site your dad set up and joined immediately.

I went to get my pain meds filled one month and after I picked them up and walked away from the window, I noticed it had been filled incorrectly and that I would run out in one month but not be allowed to get more for 3 months. I hadn’t even left the aisle, much less the store, but when I went back, I was told that they had filled it correctly. I knew how important it was that they fix it because otherwise I would be in agony for 2 months.

I fought with the woman at the counter until she said she refused to deal with me anymore and walked away. I never even raised my voice or used foul or obscene language. I tried to remain calm as I was confronted by 3 more pharmacy techs. The pharmacist wouldn’t make eye contact with me, much less intervene. One of the techs (techs are only required to have a high school degree and a little extra training) kept telling me that my insurance required they fill it the way they did. I explained that they always filled it a different way (they had for years), but he was not listening to me and refused to say anything else. Only 1 of the techs was doing anything useful by looking things up on the computer and looking guilty. I put my hand up to stop the guy from repeating the same thing over and over again and he reacted like I had hit him. He was so offended! I was the one being verbally attacked and treated like a criminal and he was the one who was offended!

I finally called the store manager who intervened, told them all to be quiet, and got the pharmacist to fix the script.

I cannot believe that it took all of that to get a script filled correctly. I cannot believe that in the process I was guilty before innocent and that I was treated so poorly. If it had been my heart meds or my antidepressant, they never would have acted like that.

I had used that pharmacy several times a month for years, but I have never gone back.

Please help us to raise awareness of the inhumane DEA policies, and the arrogance of callous pharmacists, like commentors # 19, 20 and 21, Kp and Cory. You can read the volumes of documentation that we have researched and posted about the DEA’s misguided war on sick and injured Americans at our Facebook page…
https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

Cory and KP, I am Colleen Sullivan’s father, and I feel compelled to comment on some of the erroneous statements made by several people replying to her story. First, let me say thank you to those who posted so many, very compassionate comments. You understand. However, to CORY and KP… I’d like to tell you both that you have demonstrated that you possess absolutely no understanding of the situation with which my seriously ill daughter is dealing. You see, Colleen’s mother and I are with her at each and every doctor’s appointment, from her specialists, to her pain management doctor. We also accompany our daughter to the pharmacies to fill ALL of her prescriptions, from the anti rejection drug, CellCept, normally reserved for organ transplant patients, to her pain medication. We know the facts, we’ve witnessed the prejudice, and what Colleen has reported here is 100% true. Cory questions why she was “kicked out” of her pain management doctors practice. Colleen only used that term because that is how it made her feel. The doctor has been our family doctor for years, and he was the very last physician in the Florida Keys who would even write pain relief prescriptions, because the DEA has overwhelmed each and every doctor into submitting to their policy of “No More Opioids” ! Our family doctor told Colleen and I that “I (he) can no longer write pain relief prescriptions for anyone, because the US DEA has threatened to shut my (his) practice down and take everything I (he) owned.” Due to the serious, overlapping immune system disorders, from which Colleen suffers, she must see a battery of doctors and specialists, all of whom have told us that “she requires serious, prescription pain relief medicine”. They have 12 years of medical records, which include 2 years of chemotherapy, multiple immunoglobulin infusions, muscle biopsies, 4 years of Enbrel biomed injections, immune system suppressants, and a litany of drugs and treatments that we couldn’t even have imagined, before she got sick, at age 17. When our family doctor was threatened by the DEA, he readily referred Colleen to the nearest pain management doctor, a mere 80 miles away. Now, thanks to these DEA policies, Colleen must see a new doctor, who is unfamiliar with her condition, for the same medicine that our family doctor, who is very familiar with her, used to be able to prescribe. It is also DEA policy that requires Colleen to see the new doctor, in person, every 30 days, sit in a waiting room full of germs and viruses that could be deadly to Colleen due to her suppressed immune system, then submit to a humiliating drug test, to make sure that she is taking the medicine, which she needs so badly. That is ridiculous, dangerous, and inhumane ! When we leave the doctors office, the next ordeal begins. Trying to find a pharmacy that has her medicine in stock. You see, Cory and KP, the DEA also requires that she… Read more »

I am so sorry to read this Connie. I have a pharmacy that I trust, who I have been seeing for 7 years, and I still run into issues almost every month. It is so wrong that we are taught to expect bad treatment, to be embarrassed by our disease. Can you imagine if a cancer patient was treated the same way? Would not happen.

I wrote a blog about this same topic a year or so ago: “The Lunatic at the Counter or Why You Saw Me Crying at Target:”
http://laborpain.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/the-lunatic-at-the-counter-or-why-you-saw-me-crying-at-target/

Thanks Ryan!! I sure will tell him 🙂 Thank you for your support <3

Oh yeah Colleen, best of luck to you. I’m a member of your dad’s Facebook group; tell him to keep up the good fight! Happy to help any way I can.

I so understand how you felt and I never thought that I would be in this predicament. I worked in the medical field for almost 30 years before I had a surgery that caused me to become permanently disabled. I rememeber as I wrote and ran all the clinic reports for the hospital, the ER committee wanted me to run reports on what they called frequent flyers and they marked their charts as they were all flagged as drug seeking patients. I thought hot cruel these doctors are and is it really that or is it because most of these patients have no insurance or on Medi-cal. I have been disabled since 2006 but have been on pain medicines since I had a failed cervical fusion in 2000. I am now on Medicare and each year you pick your drug insurance by the medicines you take. Well it happened that my doctor changed my medicine as he wanted me on a long acting one and not the short acting one. It took me awhile to work up to the dose he felt was a good therapeutic dose. Well last month I went to have my medicine filled and I was completely out because once a year my family meets for a reunion for a week, well the three hour car ride, being in a different bed all exacerbates my pain so I used my medicine exactly how it was prescribed. I have been using the same pharmacy for over 10 years. Well they said your insurance has a limit on how many you can have of these a month so come back in three weeks. I said well I have always just paid cash for the amount they would not cover and you guys have been fine with this all year. Had I known this was going to be an issue I would of had my doctor write a letter to the insurance company. So they left me high and dry for several weeks I did have some other medicine that I used but my pain was an 8 for those two weeks. I could not get out of bed, could not eat, it was terrible. I thought if I had no insurance they would of not even questioned me as the amount of this medicine is not half of what I know other people take. I too was so humiliated I just went home and cried. I am going to use my mail order pharmacy so I don’t have to deal with these people anymore they send you three months at a time. My doctor will have to call the insurance company and do an appeal. I never worried about it because this medicine was so cheap it did not seem to be worth the hassle. I know that the pharmacist are suppose to be the gatekeeper of the medicines. I know at the hospital they saved many people from receiving a toxic level of medicines or the wrong… Read more »

Corey,

“Just so you know, there is evidence that shows that oxycodone and other opiates should not be used for chronic pain. It works on the mu receptor, which begins to down-regulate after 4-6 months of chronic use. At this point it can actually have a detrimental impact on your pain.”

I appreciate your concern for patients on oxycodone and other opiates. But each patient is individual and reacts differently to medications, especially those taken long-term. I would much rather find a way to fix the cause of my pain, but it is not possible, and believe me – we’ve looked at everything modern medicine and alternative medicine, nutrition, herbal, and every other option one can think of. several methods I use to help. But without oxycodone I would not be able to live my life.

I have taken Oxycontin with Oxycodone for breakthrough pain for over 4 years now. For 6 years before that, I was receiving woefully inadequate pain relief and trying every pain relief method out there, both to treat cause and to treat pain. Many of us get to the end of that list and are still left with pain. Please don’t try to talk these patients out of oxycodone and other opiates.

They should not be the first choice. But for many, they are the right choice.

I was paranoid about becoming addicted to pain meds, but after years of frustration and losing more of my life each day, my doctor and I finally had a conversation in which he said we had tried everything else and if I wanted quality of life back, we needed to try extended release opiates.

Thank all the gods I listened! I have known from the day of that conversation that it is possible my body will get “used” to this dosage and it will have to be increased or I will have to find a new med at some point. But 4 1/2 years and counting and my dose and pain levels are the same as they were when I first achieved pain management. What changed is that I have my life back. I do not spend endless days in bed. I have to watch what I do, I had to come to grips with the fact that there are things I will NEVER be able to do again, but I’d trade this for the life I had 5 years ago any day of the week.

I went from spending the vast majority of my time in bed crying from constant pain to being able to go out, take care of my personal needs without assistance, do light chores, and even do 15 minutes on my treadmill twice a day with arm weights! That would not have been possible without my meds.

Be careful of blanket statements. Someone will always prove you wrong.

For pharmacist KP, one question – if you had a seizure patient come in with a prescription for an anticonvulsant and the insurance said it was early, the dosage had changed, and last month’s had been different as well, but the patient had a history of several months of steady dose, would YOU have just told them they were filling early and sent them away? Without even asking them if their dosage had changed or calling their physician? Would you have then called other pharmacies and warn them that this patient was filling scripts for Topamax early? Insert heart medication or any other med for a chronic health concern, and tell me you would have sent them on their way without trying to help them. My guess is no. My guess is that you would have tried to help the patient figure out what was wrong and correct it. And if you can’t say honestly that you would treat the pain patient the same way you would treat any other patient with a chronic condition on chronic medication that should not be abruptly discontinued, then you are prejudiced against pain patients. There is a right way to handle this particular situation, a way to both fulfill your job as pharmacist and take care of your patient. If this young lady had presented for several months with the same script, then presented with a different script, how long does it take to ask if her dosage changed? When I worked behind the pharmacy counter we had dosage changes all the time, to the point where we had a special little label that warned patients this dosage was different from their last fill of that medication. The patient would then have looked at the script realized the error (if they missed it on the written script), and either pharmacist or patient or both could have called the doctor and gotten this straightened out without traumatizing the patient. The doctor would have corrected the error, the insurance company notified, and all would be well. But no, KP, you (like this young lady’s pharmacist) assumed a computer at an insurance company knew more about her treatment than she did. Computers often kicked things out – right now my very patient pharmacist and I have been on the phone every month with Express Script, whose computer remains convinced that I still have a primary insurance I haven’t had since 2011 even though we call every month and Express Scripts tells us it’s fixed the problem every month. It happens. Even if your scenario where the last script as well as the current one had been written wrong, this patient still had a history of several months at a steady dosage. If the patient denies knowledge of dosage change, the pharmacist should call the doctor and verify this. There are far more trustworthy pain patients out there than there are scammers. We dealt with scammers at my pharmacy, and its no fun. But customer service entails… Read more »

@KP….Another Pharmacist prejudging. Your comment clearly shows your attitude. Your statement, ” I believe the patient is in pain when they present a script for opiates”. says it all. It is NOT your job to believe or not believe, to judge or not judge, your job is to FILL the prescriptions. I agree the problem started with the Doctor, I do not believe a Pharmacists due diligence is to first call other Pharmacies warning them that she might be it trying to refill her prescription early. The Pharmacist (had she been educated properly and acted like a Professional) should have pulled her aside privately and discussed the problem, especially since she had been getting her scripts filled there for 9 months, she would of figured out the script was written wrong and she then should have called the Doctor and cleared it up. BUT NO, THE PHARMACIST PREJUDGED HER AND AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMED SHE WAS A DRUG SEEKER TRYING TO FILL IT EARLY. One would think that a Pharmacist would call the Doctors office first before prejudging, but sadly, Pharmacists are spending too much time policing drug seekers rather than trying to help customers clear up errors and issues like this one. So KP, let me prejudge you, I can tell that you are one of the Pharmacists that is fueling the problem. I can tell what kind of attitude you have by the way you are blaming clinics in another state and the fact that you openly state that you do not fill scripts from those states. Who are you to JUDGE these clinics and the way these states conduct business. You are just another PharmD on your high horse, maybe you should find work in another field if this one is so frustrating for you. I can only imagine how you treat your customers. I would hope people would go to another Pharmacy rather than put up with your prejudging. I bet you have had several issues with opiate scripts and you will continue to have issues as long as your spending so much time determining if these customers are in pain or not. Thank GOD we patients have the right to change Pharmacies when we are treated unprofessionally and prejudged. I believe Colleen should write a few letters about this incident and how she was treated and send them to the people that will follow up and address this Pharmacists customer service antics or lack of.

“Also, why was she kicked out of the doctors practice?”

You must not have much experience with pain clinics. If a pharmacy was calling about her scripts, that will induce a pain clinic to discharge a patient. Pain clinics have a VERY low tolerance for “drama.” When pharmacies call and make accusations, many clinics, for fear of law enforcement and prosecution, will immediately take the side of the pharmacy and drop the patient for noncompliance. Most pain clinics have waiting lists, so losing a patient or five isn’t a big concern. Simply firing the patient is the easy path for them, and they’ll do it if the patient presents any inkling of drama or challenge.

It most certainly WAS a HIPAA violation for that pharmacist to call all the pharmacies in town and discuss this patient by name. Yes, health care providers and pharmacists can discuss this patient’s health care information. HOWEVER, she was not a Walgreens patient until she showed up at Walgreens and asked that her script be filled. Publix called Walgreens PRIOR to her showing up and asking for the script. Publix shared information with an entity that, at that point in time, was NOT one of her health care providers, which is a CLEAR HIPAA violation.

KP – on Aug 7 at 9:03 pm you commented on this story and I have to tell you, it REALLY upset me. First of all, you are a pharmacist….so how can you possibly understand being chronically ill or in pain every single day 24 hours? Also, I really don’t appreciate you saying that I “lack knowledge”. For your information, I am 29 years old and have been sick for 13 of those years. I have done endless hours of studying both pharmacy procedures and state laws regarding controlled substances. What you said was RUDE and uncalled for. But reading that you’re a pharmacist..well your rudeness is starting to make sense.

You are correct about the problem being the script was written wrong…yes it was. But you forgot to mention I said I had been going to that particular pharmacy for at least 9 months at this point. The pharmacist knew me specifically and I knew her. She saw me every month and has all my records…so basically she could of just looked on the computer to see I wasn’t early.

You started assuming just like she did that day. I can’t even believe it. This just proves to me how incredibly stubborn all pharmacists are and they will always push the blame to us sick people. Seriously….pharmacists are paid to do their job which includes calling doctors and making sure they are correct before humiliating a very sick person. Please, keep your negative comments to yourself unless you really know what’s going on.

((Original Post))
“KP says:
August 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm
As a PharmD, your post demonstrates your lack of both legal and pharmacy knowledge. I believe you are in pain. As a pharmacist, I believe most people who present with opioid scripts are in pain. In your case, the problem was with the MD…who WROTE the rx wrong. Not with the pharmacist who was doing due diligence. You are in real pain, but many people are not, especially with Florida pain clinics who write rx’s for peopel they don’t see or properly evaluate (I am not in Florida – we do not fill Florida or Georgia controls because of these pain clinics). Your rx flagged as early because it was written incorrectly the first time, not because your pharmacist was judging you. If you billed your insurance, they would flag it as early and no phone calls would be required. Please make sure you do your research on our profession of pharmacy before assume you are being pigeon-holed.”

Thank you all again for your comments and well wishes. Please come join our facebook page and share your stories there. Together we can make a difference!! Please come join!

https://www.facebook.com/PatientsUnitedForDeaReform

Opioids do not work on fibromyalgia because fibromyalgia is not a nociceptive pain. The “relief” that you feel is the Mu receptors releasing “happy-because-I’m-high” molecules due to the opioid stimulation. It is the first step to addiction. The body associates pain with happy molecules; you can pretty much draw the conclusion. Keep in mind that nociceptive pain is hardly ever chronic, and the body has a way of building tolerance to that type of pain. Neuropathic pain on the other hand is total different animal which has a different pathway for attenuation.

I am a chronic pain patient also and I feel your frustration. I think what shocks me the most is the Pharmacist’s on here that are making excuses for her. Your Pharmasist clearly broke patient privacy act, not to mention she was clearly unprofessional and prejudice. I too have dealt with a pharmacist that thought she wAs God. If your pharmacist would have simply called your Doctors offiice to verify the script instead of ASSUMING that you were trying to fill it early, they would have discovered the error and that would of resolved the issue. But she or he chose to prejudge you and call the other pharmacies, which was clearly slanderous. Plus she should have been discreet while discussing this with you. Also, don’t you love it when they tell you that pAin medications do not work after a few months. How do they know what works for every patient? I have been on MS Contin and Norco for over 5 years and they still work for me. I’m fed up with vindictive pharmacists that think they are GOD. I am thankful that I have finally found a professional non-PrejudIce Pharmacist as they are hard to find in my experience.

Sorry to everyone that has chronic pain. This is difficult enough without the world judging us for meds we take. I am 28 and was diagnosed with fibro when i was 16 but have had intense chronic pain my whole life. I have tried everything on Gods green earth to deal with this. The only thing that has helped at all is narcotic pain killers. I take norco and refuse to ever take anything stronger regardless of my pain level. It has been a struggle for me my whole life to obtain pain meds. It has gotten so bad that I am now too embarrassed to even go to a doctor. Their is nothing else they can do for me but they will not give me the only thing that does help. I have been told my whole life “you’re too young and look too healthy to need pain killers, you must just be a drug addict” If I hear that one more time I’m going to totally lose my mind. I had a doctor for 1 year who understood but he retired. Now again I am left to suffer with no relief in sight. May the grace of God shine down on all of us who suffer with chronic pain. Love too everyone

I wanted to address the comments that said there were HIPAA violations. There were none. Health information can be shared freely among health professionals when pertaining to that patients care.

I can agree that the whole situation could have been handled better but the blame is being wrongfully directed at the pharmacists. The doctor wrote the directions wrong at least 2 months in a row and the patient didnt follow the ‘wrong directions’ from the previous month and just took the tablets without regard to the directions on the bottle. Also, why was she kicked out of the doctors practice?

Again, if the doctor or patient had noticed the dosing error this would have been a non issue. In this story the pharmacists were the only ones who did not drop the ball and did what they were supposed to do.

That being said they could have explained their decision not to fill the prescription better to the patient and more quietly.

I am a 52 year old woman who has suffered from painful, strange illnesses for over 20 years. I have 3 autoimmune diseases, one which is destroying the gastric cells in my stomach. I also have IBS which is very painful. In the year 2009 I had Breast Cancer in March, 4 Pulmonary Embolisms in May and Open Heart Surgery in September. I was able to recover from all of this, but when I had the 4 P.E.’s I would put on what I call the “Devil Drug”, coumadin. Because you have to limit your intake of green leafy vegetables (I was a vegetarian at the time) you are also limiting your intake of Thiamine (B1). As time went on I became more and more tired. Got to the point where I was sleeping 20 to 22 hours a day. No one could find out what was wrong until a very wise doctor checked my thiamine levels. I had levels only seen in starving people in developing nations. After all of that happened, I finally fell into Fibromyalgia. The chronic pain continued to grow until one day I raced to a Rheumatologist. He ordered a nuclear bone scan which was negative for bone cancer. He then diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. He then told me he chose not to see me again because “chronic pain patients burn me out”. After many more doctors and many more years learning all about my disease I have yet to find a good pain management doctor. I STILL do not have a 24 hr cycle med which would allow me to wake up pain free. This would enable to me get some exercise (I’ve gained 80 lbs), lower my cholesterol levels and perhaps even go back to work. I’ve been fighting this for years and currently have a 2nd appeal into Kaiser for this reason. Someone posted how great it is because Kaiser has they own pharmacies and I agree. But that’s where, in my opinion, this HMO being related to the word “great” ends. After two years I do not have a pain management doctor I can work with and trust. He would much rather Rx oxycodone for me than try to find a 24 hr cycle med. I’m very active in the Fibromyalgia community and it infuriates me to hear about what others are able to get to properly manage their pain. Methadone, Bustran patches, Fentanyl patches, etc. They are properly medicated and are much stronger physically than it am. I chase my pain, I’m not in front of it which is the point. I never hang my head when I turn in my Rx’s for Oxycodone. I am not ashamed that I take narcotics for my pain. I am so sorry Colleen that you have to go through such humiliation. I live in California and have never had a problem. Florida sounds especially bad. This is the first I’ve heard of the DEA setting new limits on filling prescriptions, but I have… Read more »

I hate to ‘get political’ but I call BS on John Gibson. As a chronic pain patient of 15 years, I can assure you – this crap was going on long before Obama came into office. And who is president and who he puts in any office had VERY little actual effect on the prejudice of average people.

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As a PharmD, your post demonstrates your lack of both legal and pharmacy knowledge. I believe you are in pain. As a pharmacist, I believe most people who present with opioid scripts are in pain. In your case, the problem was with the MD…who WROTE the rx wrong. Not with the pharmacist who was doing due diligence. You are in real pain, but many people are not, especially with Florida pain clinics who write rx’s for peopel they don’t see or properly evaluate (I am not in Florida – we do not fill Florida or Georgia controls because of these pain clinics). Your rx flagged as early because it was written incorrectly the first time, not because your pharmacist was judging you. If you billed your insurance, they would flag it as early and no phone calls would be required. Please make sure you do your research on our profession of pharmacy before assume you are being pigeon-holed.

I should also add that the pharmacist can also be deemed liable for a patient’s death if it is due to an overdose that could have been caught by the dispensing pharmacist…oxycodone is considered high risk for such a thing to occur especially in Florida where pain clinics have been found to be oxy mills where doctors don’t see their patients (just as you describe) and only write the prescription for $100 easy. Would you go to jail for someone you felt was using something in appropriately?

Just so you know, there is evidence that shows that oxycodone and other opiates should not be used for chronic pain. It works on the mu receptor, which begins to down-regulate after 4-6 months of chronic use. At this point it can actually have a detrimental impact on your pain. Proper pain management should be mechanistically-based to control the pain rather than covered up with the high that can be achieved via opiates..they cover up your care for feeling the pain, similar to smoking weed or using other drugs. It may be a surprise to you, but medical doctors (MDs) go through a semester of pharmacotherapy (the study of medications), where as doctors of pharmacy (PharmDs) go through three years of pharmacotherapy. Typically, we have a better understanding of how medications work in your body and can gear your treatment towards the underlying cause of the pain. What are you taking for the neuropathic pain? Is there somatic pain or visceral? Go to a pain clinic that works hand-in-hand with a pharmacist because they will, as a team, provide you with better and more directed therapy and spent more than five minutes with you to see how you are actually doing.

I am a 44 year old female Fibromyalgia patient living in Florida. I used to take Oxycodone for a number of years, I’m not sure now how many, to control the relentless pain this dumb disease brings on a daily basis. I can empathize with the author’s experience, as I had a similar issue with my local Publix, but it was not their fault, nor was it a doctor issue. Someone, I don’t know who, nor do I know where it originated, stole my prescription and filled it using my insurance. The catch to this was, the prescription had not been issued to me when it was stolen, meaning someone either pretended to be me, or someone in the doctor’s office stole it and filled it. Not knowing this had happened, I contacted the doctor at the beginning of the month to have him write the script and I picked it up as normal. It wasn’t until I got to the pharmacy to fill it that I found out the insurance wouldn’t pay for it because it had just been filled. So I called the doctor’s office, after they had already written the script and I picked it up, at which time the doctor’s nurse told me I’d already filled the prescription this month, and I was clearly abusing the drug! Long story short, everything got worked out, but it took a lot of tears, frustration and humiliation.

About this time last year, I was told by the pharmacist, with whom I’ve become friends, that the Feds were clamping down on manufacturers that produce generic oxycodone medications. Each manufacturer has a ‘quota’ for making these drugs, and once they hit this threshold, they cannot make any more of that medication for the rest of the QUARTER! Reading some of the comments here and hearing about the difficulty that some are having getting valid prescriptions filled, I believe what they told me is still true. My pain specialist didn’t mind working with me to find an alternative medication that isn’t so restricted, and that will still give adequate pain control.

I understand the reason Florida is cracking down on pain meds, specifically Oxycodone meds. We have been the laughing stock of the country from the pill mills we had operating illegally for years. The governor, however, has well over-played his hand and the DEA in general is making miserable the lives of every pain patient that relies on narcotic medications.

I too experienced similar issues at a CVS pharmacy. I had been going to Walgreens every month until they started saying they did not have the medication either. I did recently read that Walgreens was fined for not doing something right when filing pain medication prescriptions. Anyway, I changed to CVS and get all my prescriptions filled at CVS not just my pain meds. There were two pharmacists there that were blatantly rude. I too am in Florida. I realize it is a more complicated procedure to fill pain med prescriptions, but we are customers too. It is difficult and draining to go to the doctor for the prescription, to take the prescription to the pharmacy, to have to go back to get the prescription and pray that we are able to pick them filled before we run out! I am a contributing member to society. I work through my chronic, life-long pain. I am not a drug addict. Not even close. After many times of being mistreated, I called CVS and complained. I wrote CVS and complained. Ever since that, the 2 mean pharmacists no longer work there. They must have written something on my file, because now the pharmacy staff goes out of their way to treat me with the dignity and respect they should!!! I would never hesitate to complain, write the BBB or the board of pharmacy. I am sad to read there are so many of us out there being mistreated.

I just can’t believe the ignorance of a supposed to be professional. I will be praying for you… It infuriates that people just judge others instead of trying to understand. Of course there are those addicts, that give people who really need pain management a bad rep! God bless

Wow. I’m really glad I don’t live in Florida now. I guess I’ve been lucky. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a couple of years ago and while it took 5 doctors to find one that would work with me I have never experienced rudeness from a pharmacy. I’ve had CVS constantly screw up my prescriptions which is why I transferred everything to Walmart. My current doctor actually listened to me and put me on pain medication since Lyrica & Cymbalta did not work and had horrible side effects. No other doctor would even contemplate that. Colleen I am so sorry you had to experience that. Debbie needs to be reported and fired for violating privacy laws as well as being a total douche in terms of customer service. That’s just ridiculous. She should’ve offered to call the damn doctor’s office. Walmart is always willing to call the doc for me if the script is written in a way that either doesn’t make sense or they can’t fill. I’ve never had them just tell me no and humiliate me. Then again…I’m kind of a b*tch and would start causing a scene if they tried that crap with me. Best of luck to you and I hope this never happens again to anyone…so ridiculous and uncalled for.

Dear Colleen,
I just read your article and am furious at the self-righteous, full of herself way the pharmacist chose to handle the situation. I haven’t read all the comments so maybe this came up before but I hope you wrought to her supervisors. Usually I am a go with the flow person but that kind of attitude really bugs me! She should be educated herself that she doesn’t KNOW everything and has no right or knowledge to judge others based on her assumptions! Yes, they clearly have to be careful of addicts unfortunately, but they are not the judge and jury of their patients. I truly hope she was reprimanded so she doesn’t do this to someone else. I am glad you are in a situation now with a good team to help you.